CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is
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The Right Word

May 22, 2019 (permalink)

"Is there a word for that awful realization that your colleagues are as bad as your students? There should be. Gedämpfteerwartungenenttäuscht or something like that." —The Musubi Murder, by Frankie Bow (via Jonathan Caws-Elwitt)

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May 14, 2019 (permalink)

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May 3, 2019 (permalink)

Oh!  From Jungle Night by William Beebe, 1918.
#oh #wail #woe
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May 1, 2019 (permalink)

Here's an entry from The Dictionary of Ugly Words, a book attributed to us.
#dictionary #gargoyle #ugly word
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April 30, 2019 (permalink)

"Say it with cauliflowers."  From The Judge, 1922.
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April 27, 2019 (permalink)

Not a strange unit of measure, the "Ounce" is, of course, another name for a snow leopard.  From Tales About Animals by Peter Parley, 1870.
#vintage illustration #art #leopard #big cat #snow leopard #ounce
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April 2, 2019 (permalink)

What words make you want to die?  Here's one, in an entry from The Dictionary of Ugly Words, a book attributed to us.
#dictionary #panties #ugly word
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February 22, 2019 (permalink)

We're often asked, "is it teepee or tepee?"  You'll see tepee everywhere, but "popularity is only of temporary moment ... a vulgar struggling for supremacy" (Chamber's Edinburgh Journal, 1849).  Indeed, California's Wigwam Motel (on both the historic registry and alongside the ghostly vestiges of Route 66) spells it teepee.  That's surely definitive.  For further proof, we offer our own graphical evidence (heehee).
#teepee #california #wigwam #route 66
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February 1, 2019 (permalink)

One Punchinello, two or more Puns-chinello.  From Le Journal Amusant, 1903.
#vintage illustration #angel #art #punchinello
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January 19, 2019 (permalink)

A design idea for greeting cards: crisscrossing four quotations with a key word at the center.  From The Gospel Woman, 1881
#vintage illustration #christianity #art #grace #bible #wages of sin #quotations #the blood of jesus #crisscrossing
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December 20, 2018 (permalink)

"The bad language of birds."  From The Literary Digest, 1899.
#talking bird #vintage headline
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December 16, 2018 (permalink)

Here's a trick for spelling Constantinople:
It's a C and an I and a constanti, and a steeple and a stople and a constantinople.
Rupert Hughes, Gift Wife, 1910
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December 4, 2018 (permalink)

These are text scanning errors: in each case, the word apocrypha appeared as a page or column heading but got attached to first words on the page or the final words of the previous page, creating a new sentence that exists only in the context of a Google search result.

#book scanning #apocrypha
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November 11, 2018 (permalink)

 In the Mota language of the Vanuatu archipelago, a tamate-tiqa is a "ghost-shooter," a tube of bamboo stuffed with magic and shot off against the person whom it is desired to injure.  From A Dictionary of the Language of Mota, Sugarloaf Island, Banks' Islands by Codrington and Palmer, 1896
#magick #black magic #mota language
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November 3, 2018 (permalink)

Foiled by a line of dots, just as the romantic action was heating up.  From La Charrette Charrie, 1923.
#vintage illustration #art #erotica #censored #row of dots #romance novel #erotic literature
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October 29, 2018 (permalink)

This headline is for an article about public displays of affection, known in those days as "kissing exhibitionism."  From Daily Tar Heel, 1940.
#strange word #vintage headline #unpronounceable
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October 27, 2018 (permalink)

Only 30 Google results of "doomaflotchies."  From Florida Flambeau, 1970.
#weird headline #vintage headline #weird word
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October 12, 2018 (permalink)

Can “slew” be pluralized?  Only if there are myriads.

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October 11, 2018 (permalink)

Here's a recipe book written by someone whose name appropriately sounds like fireplace grates for heating pans.  One Hundred and Sixty Culinary Dainties for the Epicure, the Invalid and the Dyspeptic by Samuel Hobbs, 1885.  See Nostradamus Predicted Your Next Diet.
#calligraphy #hand lettering #book cover #vintage book #cooking #recipes #cookbook
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October 6, 2018 (permalink)

Here's a list of excuses from The Cap and Gown yearbook of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1904.
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